Saturday, 16 October 2010

Generosity killed the kap

My mate John was on family business today, so he generously allowed me to use his season ticket ……… some times the generosity of others can be painful and I do wonder if he had had a premonition of things to come.

The good news is that we got no points from this fixture last year so not getting any this year does not disturb our this year last year comparison and if that sounds like clutching at straws well you could be right.  They say every silver lining has a cloud and on this occaision it is a great big dirty grey one.

However, before I comment on Charlton, let me say Brighton and Hove Albion were a credit to their manager and the 3,500 fans who were allowed to watch them at the Valley. I think having only missed Oldham at home this season and Brentford at home last season, this was the best team to come to the Valley at this level of football. Gus Poyet is currently on his first managerial role, having cut his coaching teeth at Spurs and Leeds and he seems to me to be punching below his weight at this level and I doubt he will be at Brighton in 12 months time. He has turned round a very poor Brighton side that came to the Valley and took three points last season into a very good Brighton side that came today and left with a full house on terms of points and score.

At the out set let me state that I felt until the second goal we were in this game, but the second killed us. I expect, without checking the records, that the last team to win by a four goal margin at the Valley would have been one of the premier league top four during the golden age. That said Brighton were not four goals better, until maybe the last 15 minutes and a 2-0 score line would have been fairer.

Brighton have taught us a lesson today and that lesson is about being sharp up front, creating and taking chances. They did not make too many in the first half and in fact the one they scored from was made by us, a corner came in poorly cleared to the right, crossed back in and in the back of the net. The first half saw both teams pushing the ball forward and Abbot almost headed in from a sharp cross, but put it just wide of the post

As in the first half the second half started with Charlton attacking and giving hope that we would get back in the game but we lack penetration and cutting edge, taking too long to get the ball in where it hurts, allowing the defenders to get back into position and cover attacks. We have yet to win a penalty this season. Is this because of incompetent referees or is it a more fundamental, is it about the way we play. You would have thought with Benson, Reed, Martin and Wagstaff in the side we would have the benefit if their speed either creating chances or creating penalties, but maybe the issue is that we are not getting into the penalty area with any force or venom.

What happened to the Johny Jackson that we had on loan last season, this Johny Jackson is a pale imitation and a player of his experience should never have attempted the back pass he did. He is totally responsible for the second goal, although I thought Elliot could have done better. Having made this error, the real failing was letting our heads drop, after that we were gone. The third goal was Lua Lua's first touch of the ball and if anyone had watched last weeks The Championship, they would have blocked out the opportunity instead we were three down.

The fourth goal was just one of those last minute things – demoralised team, pushing for something they could call salvation and the team that are up for it breakaway and score.

The players have to take responsibility for this defeat and the level of it. As we matched Brighton, we did ourselves in, as they say - poor defending from a corner, bad back pass and then it is gone, the opportunity no longer exists. For the first two goals I really don't think you can put the fallibility of the players on Parkinson, seriously. I blame Parkinson for our failure to hurt teams in the box and the failure to either get a team together or if he has then a failure to get them to gel consistently and for a sustained 90 minutes.

The crowd overall was very positive and supportive till the team capitulated and then the boos came, that isn't something any of us anti booers can really object to, 0-4 at home in the third division at home. However two things I do object to,the first is the guy who sat in front of me (this used to be my seat, so he has sat in front of me for about 3 years) shouting across to the Brighton fans your fxxxing cxxxx, to me this is unnecessary language, but when he has a child with him who is less than 10 years old, you can only wonder at his parenting skills and how she will grow up, as he left he shouted to the player "you should be ashamed of yours selves" – true, but he is a fine one to speak and secondly and I will risk getting slaughtered for this, the guy who approached Parkinson in the coaching area, I'm sorry but however you feel, that is not on .

Today was the first part of our ordeal of 5 games, we failed and the minimum of 6 points from 15 looks difficult, that said we won't see another Brighton at the Valley again this season, unless it's a cup.

Thanks for your generosity John, but today it hurt.

Ps Charlton Life has blown a fuse presumably from all the wrist slitting this is the message I am getting-


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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Trial by ordeal

As I sit in the jury waiting room eager to adjudicate on the dispensation of justice on behalf of her majesty, my thoughts turn to the forthcoming five fixtures. Brighton, Sheffield Wednesday, at home, Carlisle, Peterborough, Swindon away. The next five fixtures will be a trial by ordeal. If we come out of that lot with more than 9 points then the jury's verdict of the season so far and future prospects will be totally positive, however if we come out with six or less the fans verdict will be that Parkie is guilty of an inability to manage and will only feel that justice has been done when we see the back of him, Breaker and maybe Kinsella.


Our record at The Valley is an enviable one, played four, eight points, despite some disjointed un inspiring performances. 45 minutes here and there are not enough to cajole the faithful into loud raucous support, but it does lay foundations and I believe confidence of the team. The biggest test for the team this season at home comes this weekend , with the visit of table topping Brighton and Hove Albion. Managed by Guy Poyet, they have turned around their disappointing form of last season to be a confident formidable out fit. One of their season highlights from last year was their visit to The Valley when they toppled promotion chasing Charlton in a 2-1 victory, Richardson scoring with a daisy cutter. Brighton's charge stalled last week as the linesman and Bournemouth team conspired to turn the referee's legitimate award of a free kick into a penalty in injury time. For the players of Brighton it must be soul destroying to play at the Withdean where the fans are remote from the pitch due to a running track (something that west ham can look forward to if their Olympic stadium bid goes through). Brighton will have no concerns about a stadium that dissipates sound when they come to the Valley. The Jimmy Seed is probably the best stand in the valley for dispersion of sound towards the pitch. The low roof and traditional old fashioned build of the stand works to the advantage of the opposition and one of Pardoo's few intelligent remarks was that the away fans should not be given the benefit of that stand. Health & Safety fan security have prevented the move to some of the empty spaces at the side of the pitch. I have been an advocate of cutting large holes through the sides of the stand and insulating the roof with sound absorbing material.


The Brighton players will be up for this as they bring 3,500 fans to fill Jimmy Seed and pick off a few seats in the home end. We could convince our selves that this is a lost game before we begin. To do so however we need to come out of the blocks as we did for Dagenham & Redbridge and keep it going for a full 90 minutes. This is the first time we have had a team at the valley who will be attacking us from the off, although you could justifiably argue that Notts County soon realised that we were there for the taking. Since Notts County the team have shown some improvement and cohesion and we have started to see Benson repay the investment in him. With Brighton coming at us they will also be vulnerable to our attacks. Not playing against a packed defence we can allow our team to be expansive in their play. As you go down the leagues it is rarer and rarer to find quality creative midfielders that can unlock defences, with Brighton coming at us we can instead of working out how to unlock the defence we can focus on piercing it with through balls, crosses and counter attacks.


With Francis being absent last week, this weeks target for the fans has been Thierry Racon, who has been criticised for his contribution and positional play. I'm not the biggest fan of young terry, but when he is criticised by some based on radio commentaries it does seem a bit unfair. Thierry has bundles of potential, the good news is that with each game he is improving and that can only be good, he does need to score more goals and we know that he has a vicious long shot, something the club misses at the moment. One of the biggest pluses for Racon is that Frances will be back on Saturday.


It is I going to be an interesting match and one where I think the opposition will be strong enough and clever enough to know that Reid is the best creative player in the team, and will put two / three players on him, that will leave space elsewhere and we need to have a strategy for exploiting this.


Once we get past Brighton for better or for worse we face further challenges, as I said at the beginning we face a trial by ordeal, but if we can get through it half intact then this could be a great season.